The bbPress plugin is a great option for providing your users with a forum that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, almost as if it were a natural part of the core. The goal is to keep it as speedy and light as possible. Therefore, the bbPress plugin doesn’t include everything you need for a full-featured forum for WordPress. You’ll need to add in functionality via plugins.
I’ve selected some of the best current add-ons for bbPress. These plugins will help you to be able to provide a smooth experience as well as many of the commonly-expected features of a standalone forum.
GD bbPress Attachments
This plugin lets you add attachments to the topics and replies in bbPress. The attachments are handled through WordPress media library and you can control the file sizes from the main plugin settings panel. You can also limit the number of files users can attach for each topic and reply. The plugin embeds a list of attached files into topics and replies, and the file images can be displayed as thumbnails.
bbPress Threaded Replies
Threaded replies are a staple of most full-featured forums. This plugin causes bbPress to inherit the comment threading options that you select in your WordPress settings. When you install it you get nested forum replies, which help users to understand the flow of conversations on your forums.
bbPress Search Widget
The bbPress Search Widget is just like the regular WordPress search widget but limited to only search the bbPress post types. This highly-rated plugin is very easy to use. Just drop it in a widget area and you’ll have a search limited to your forums. The ability to search topics and replies is a must-have for any forum.
bbPress No Admin
This plugin prevents all users except super-admins from creating bbPress content when inside the WordPress dashboard. There’s no UI or settings to mess with – just install and activate it. I wouldn’t use bbPress without this plugin.
If you have a spam problem on your forum, this is the plugin to get. It changes the status of new topics and replies to ‘pending’ and will be shown as ‘Awaiting Moderation’ until the administrator approves publishes them. If you enjoy a more hands-on approach to moderating your forum, this plugin will give you what you need.
Dashboard Forum Activity
Dashboard Forum Activity is a useful plugin that will display recent bbPress activity within your dashboard, so that you can get a quick summary of what’s going on. It displays all new topics and replies, with the ability to either open the post to edit it or to view it on the front end of the site.
The ability to create your own signature is pretty much a standard feature of most standalone forums. This plugin gives users their own signatures for topics and replies. It limits the signature length to no more than 500 characters.
bbPress Custom CSS File
This is a very simple plugin that, when activated, will let you use the bbpress.css file in your theme directory instead of the one included in bbPress core. Instead of having to create an entirely new bbPress theme, you’ll be able to make simple changes to just the bbpress.css file.
The bbPress Notify plugin sends a notification via e-mail when new topics or replies are posted. The settings allow you to configure the notification recipients for new topics, notification recipients for new replies, and the notification e-mail’s subject and body for both new topics and replies.
bbPress Admin Bar Additions
This is a very handy plugin that adds bbPress-related resources to your toolbar / admin bar, such as bbPress docs and support. It also integrates the menus of other 3rd party bbPress-related plugins. The bbPress additions are only displayed for forum admins and moderators, helping you to quickly navigate around your WordPress site and bbPress forum.
New bbPress add-ons are hitting the WordPress repository all the time. We’ll make sure to keep you updated about any new plugins that might be worthy of this must have list so make sure you’re subscribed. Are we missing any of your favorites in this list? Let us know in the comments.